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15 Types of Conduct That Leads to a Hostile Work Environment

Employment Law / May 8, 2022

While everyone deserves to work in a welcoming environment, the reality is that sometimes a work environment can become hostile if there aren’t steps taken to prevent it. Studies have shown that employees and companies are more productive if everyone feels appreciated and welcomed. However, sometimes building strong relationships with the team gets lost in trying to keep productivity up. Taking a day or a few minutes in the day to build relationships within the team can significantly improve morale and the level of productivity.

15 Workplace Actions That Lead to a Hostile Work Environment

It’s difficult to prevent something when there’s no clear understanding of what constitutes a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment is a workplace that makes the team feel scared, intimidated, or uncomfortable because of the team’s conduct as a whole or due to individual conduct. Moreover, if the hostile work environment is caused by severe or pervasive harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information, it could constitute illegal workplace discrimination.

It can be difficult to know when lines are crossed, which is why it’s often better to set specific work environment rules that prevent behaviors or jokes from ever crossing a line. Some behaviors to keep an eye on include:

  • Insults
  • Intimidation
  • Offensive jokes
  • Jokes about sex or sexuality
  • Jokes about race or ethnicity
  • Jokes about religion
  • Jokes about culture
  • Name-calling
  • Offensive objects
  • Offensive pictures
  • Physical conduct (make sure everyone is respecting everyone’s space)
  • Ridicule or mockery
  • The use of slurs
  • Threats
  • Sexual comments
  • Jokingly simulating sexual acts
  • Encouraging employees to speak only English in order to avoid gossip or offensive talk

At first glance, some of these behaviors may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but if they continue, they can escalate into something more serious. It’s better to put rules and regulations in place to prevent some of these “jokes” or “harmless” behaviors than to be faced with the consequences of a hostile work environment.

10 Signs That a Work Environment Is Becoming Hostile

Unhappy or hostile work environments have certain characteristics that help pinpoint there is an issue. Some of which include:

  • Employees experiencing burnout symptoms
  • People arguing often
  • Employees complaining about being overworked
  • Employees complaining about being underpaid
  • Employee complaining about being underappreciated
  • A lot of employee absences
  • Some employees not being comfortable around certain co-workers
  • Passive-aggressive behaviors
  • The alienation of a specific employee or employees
  • The initial feeling employees get when they walk into work

Employees’ body language can be very telling of how comfortable they are at work. Also, if employees are always eager to leave or dread coming to work, it may be time to make some changes.

Experiencing Workplace Hostility? Contact Our Skilled Employment Lawyer Today

Working in a welcoming environment is vital to the success of the employees and the business. Without strong moral motivation, productivity can suffer significantly. Furthermore, employees who face a hostile work environment can develop stress and anxiety from the place that’s supposed to help them maintain their livelihood. People need their source of income, but when their workplace is the last place they want to be, it can negatively affect every aspect of their life.

At Hollis Law Firm, we know that employees do everything they can to maintain their workplace for their own benefit and the benefit of their business, but that can be difficult to do when faced with harassment and discrimination. Employees should not dread or fear going to work. Our skilled employment law attorney is dedicated to helping employees fight against harassment and discrimination.

If you have dealt with workplace harassment and discrimination and are wondering if you have a case, schedule a consultation with an employment lawyer at (800) 701-3672, or fill out our contact form.